Lasting customer relationships are rare in the digital age – the competition is always just one click away. Enterprises must therefore invest in long-term customer retention. New technologies and innovative methods enable customer loyalty – even online.
Relationships require work. This applies to partnerships, but especially to sales. Whoever doesn’t invest is unlikely to go further than a brief acquaintance. On the other hand, achieving trust over many years requires listening to what others have to say and knowing them inside out. Online offers tempt customers to go elsewhere, highlighted by the fact that 35 percent of users will search in one shop and then buy in another. In order to ensure sustainable revenue for a company, it is essential to get customers emotionally invested in a brand.
Digital Customer Loyalty Is More Important Than Ever
Customer loyalty pays off. Significantly more revenue can be brought in by regular customers compared to first-time buyers. Customers that repeatedly purchase from the same shop spend on average seven times as much as impulse buyers or first-time customers. Digital customers value the things that have always played a vital role in customer loyalty: personal support, appreciation, and reward for their loyalty. However, the most important aspect is emotion – the key to any successful relationship. Companies in the digital age must offer their clients a customer journey that creates positive experiences associated with the brand. And this begins even when there is no intention to buy. An example of this would be when a potential customer is looking for inspiration and wants to find something they can emotionally connect with.
Choosing the Right Words for the Well-Informed Customer
In order to give digital customers what they want at an early stage, companies need to first understand what makes them tick. Analysis shows that 76 percent of all online customers start searching for a product on Google, 62 percent on Amazon, 42 percent on eBay, and 9 percent on Facebook. B2B customers mainly use their desktop or laptop, but 13 percent use their smartphone, with 11 percent using their tablet to make corporate online purchases. The online activity of (potential) customers shows that they are fully informed. Regardless of whether they buy online, in the shop, or after considerable sales discussions, they expect significantly more specialist knowledge from their contact. In this way, the expert becomes more important since they are the connection between the online information and reality.
A well-organized customer relationship program is based on mutual trust. The customer should trust the company and its brand and vice versa. Commitment is also important in this dynamic. The customer must feel that all of their needs are covered by the organization and be able to identify with the brand.
Henrik Salzgeber, CEO of mission-one GmbH, responsible for marketing and sales
Collecting and managing customer data centrally and in real time gives vendors various ways to build customer trust. You can serve customers in a personal, exclusive way, provide them with the information they need, and reward them for their loyalty – with discounts and bonuses, for example. However, companies should take care to ensure they are transparent and open with customers about how their data is used. In fact, in the German market, approximately two thirds of customers are willing to pass on some data, such as email addresses, cell phone numbers, shopping history, and sometimes even their monthly income to companies. This trust must not be abused.
Blurring the Boundaries between B2B and B2C
Whether it’s a B2C service or a B2B customer, expectations are the same. This is because consumers who are used to personal offers in their private life also want this experience in their working life. B2B enterprises must adapt to what has long been common practice in the B2C market: an automated and personalized purchase process from the initial product search to delivery.